India in high hopes for upcoming moon landing following Russia’s recent setback

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India’s space agency unveiled images captured by its spacecraft on Monday during its journey toward the lunar south pole.

This milestone came shortly after a Russian lander’s unsuccessful attempt. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft had competed against Russia to become the first to touch down on the lunar south pole. This region was of particular interest due to the belief that its shadowed craters held water ice, potentially vital for future lunar settlements.

On Sunday, ISRO confirmed that Chandrayaan-3 was en route to its scheduled landing on August 23, after reports emerged regarding Russia’s Luna-25 mission failure. The space agency assured on Monday that all systems aboard the spacecraft had operated “flawlessly,” and there were no foreseen contingencies for the landing day.

This mission, named Chandrayaan, which translates to “moon vehicle” in Hindi and Sanskrit, marked India’s second endeavor to touch down on the moon’s south pole. In 2019, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully placed an orbiter in lunar orbit but faced a setback when its lander crashed.

The challenging topography of the lunar south pole had posed significant obstacles to a successful landing, but achieving the first-ever landing there would have held historic significance. This region’s reservoirs of water ice held the potential to provide vital resources such as fuel, oxygen, and drinking water for future space endeavors.

On Monday, the ISRO spacecraft unveiled images taken by its Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera, a tool designed to identify safe landing spots on the moon’s surface.
India’s moon mission commenced on July 14, with the Chandrayaan-3 lander module separating from the propulsion module just last week.

The successful landing on the moon would have signified India’s emergence as a space power, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s efforts to stimulate investment in private space launches and satellite-related businesses.
Manish Purohit, a former ISRO scientist, emphasized, “If Chandrayaan-3 succeeded, it would have enhanced India’s space agency’s global standing, showcasing India’s growing role in space exploration.”

Furthermore, it would have reinforced India’s reputation for cost-effective space engineering. Chandrayaan-3 was launched with a budget of approximately 6.15 billion rupees ($74 million), a sum lower than the production cost of the 2013 Hollywood space thriller “Gravity.”
Achieving a successful mission had the potential to elevate India to the exclusive club of countries that had successfully landed on the moon, joining the ranks of the former USSR, the United States, and China.

Following the Chandrayaan-3 launch, K. Sivan, the former chief of the country’s space agency, expressed, “India is poised to acquire new technology through a successful landing, a significant achievement.”
ISRO scientists had taken valuable lessons from the previous lunar mission’s setback. Consequently, they implemented modifications in Chandrayaan-3 to enhance the likelihood of a successful landing. These improvements included the capability to land safely across an expanded landing zone even under adverse conditions. Additionally, the spacecraft was equipped with increased fuel reserves, additional solar panels, and sturdier landing legs.

Executives within India’s emerging space sector had anticipated a significant upswing. The number of space startups in India had experienced a doubling in numbers since 2020, coinciding with India’s decision to open up to private space launches.

Pawan Chandana, a co-founder of Skyroot, which had successfully launched India’s inaugural privately constructed rocket the previous year, conveyed his enthusiastic anticipation, stating, “The next 3 days were nothing less than ‘terrific’! Eagerly looking forward to the landing!” This message was shared on X, formerly Twitter.

Muhammad Awais Raza is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the Government College University (GCU). Awais can be contacted via email at He is also available on Twitter under the handle @Awais_raza512